Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tomorrow's Conventional Wisdom -- Today! (PART 2)

Three more hot thoughts on Politics 2010: 

This Is No Time for Bipartisanship – Let the Bickering Begin; or, Don’t Fear the Gridlock. Most of the American electorate – especially in this election -- doesn’t want the parties to get along. They don’t want the parties to compromise on bad policies. They want good policies. The voters do not agree, of course, on what those good policies are. But we now have a Republican majority in the House, and a Senate that will begin to tilt away from the Obama agenda. And the reason for that majority is because the voters want the Obama/Democratic policies stopped and reversed.

Does anyone suppose that this election was about a craving on the part of voters for bipartisan compromise? No – the majority loathed the results of Democratic hegemony from 2008-2010. They truly want to turn back the clock. They (no, no, not everyone, but the people whose numbers matter) regret their vote for Obama and are counting the days when they can turn him out (unless the Republicans nominate a peckerwood, of which they are surely capable – see later entry re Republicans' peckerwood problem). The Republicans should demand reversal of the last two years of nonsense and should not back down, even at the risk of nothing getting done.

I recall college discussions with pals over whether we would prefer almost any House or Senate candidate we could think of, Republican or Democrat, over a robot who would vote NO on every single vote. (Perhaps exceptions for veto overrides and the like.) Robot always won.

Another exception would be voting yes on certain specialized legislation, such as . . . .

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Republicans Must Make Every Effort to Repeal The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” – Policy and Politics.   Stop laughing. Yes, that’s the real name of “Obamacare.” As though it ended up having much to do with patients, protection, affordable care, or care at all. Surely the most reviled single piece of legislation in memory across a broad spectrum of American voters. Legislators could not tell you what was in it. Nancy Pelosi said we’d have to pass it to find out what was was in it. The bureaucracy it promised was gigantic and staggeringly complex. And in the meantime, we were treated to the vision of government social services collapsing economies and spawning beggar classes throughout Europe who demonstrated against any attempt to turn the tide of ruin.

And, of course, the bill itself was dead on arrival save for the legislative bribery it took to pass it.

And what’s happened since?

   --  Employers are cutting back and, in some cases, dumping health care benefits, and passing on higher expenses to employees. 

   --  Analysis after nonpartisan analysis has demonstrated its almost certain nonviability.

   --  President Obama himself admits that his repeated representations that healthcare costs will decrease under his plans may have been, um, untrue.

Almost nobody believes this monstrosity can work or is even beneficial to all but a few, at gigantic expense. To believe that people will tolerate a shrinking doctor class as MDs' rewards for excellence are slashed, while undeserving patients consume vast resources -- well, there are some who do believe that.   Supporters are scarce, and they seldom emerge from what is almost always a tower of academe or cosseted media position.  With each passing week, public support for the thing reaches a new low.

Obamacare doesn’t need fixing. It needs to die, and quickly, before the prospect of the economic and healthcare horrors it will unleash keep one more employer from adding one more employee.

Republican candidates called for repeal during the campaign, and now they need to demand it. Make the case – get the facts out – and work for repeal without compromise. It is the correct policy move.

But would it be politically prudent? The idea of repeal is very popular right now, and, as noted in my previous article, a large majority of Senators up for re-election in 2012 are Democrats. It is not beyond imagining that a strong Republican leadership could round up the votes required for repeal.

Nevertheless, it might well be a lost cause, since the President could veto any attempt at repeal, and Republicans are a Senate minority.  A majority for repeal might not be the necessary majority for override.  And, as we have seen with the recent tax agreement, there are Democrats out there (in this case, socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont) who will filibuster.

Your Cool Hot Center advises Republicans: Let them filibuster. Let them vote against repeal. Let them vote to sustain the President’s veto. As long as you fight the good fight and present a factual, supportable case for repeal – not the peckerwood case, but the sound economic, moral, and policy case, perhaps while acknowledging the need for reform in certain areas – you will be rewarded in November 2012.   If you fight the good fight and lose, all it tells the electorate is that the housecleaning of 2010 was incomplete, and will energize the base for further corrections in 2012.

And, Republicans, if you don’t fight that fight, if you just nibble at the corners of Obamacare, if you try only to “reform” the beast, then you will have justified those souls who are convinced that principle counts for nothing in Washington, that anyone who goes there is inevitably compromised, must go along to get along, in derogation of the best interests of the Republic.

It’s gotta go. It or you.

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No, I Don’t Miss George Bush.  And I don’t feel sorry for Wade Phillips.

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